In Sunday’s tie against the Green Bay Packers, the Minnesota Vikings put together a pretty damned impressive fourth quarter, putting up 22 points in the final fifteen minutes of play. What could make it even more impressive?
How about the fact that their time of possession in that final quarter tallied less than two and a half minutes of game time?
Yes, in their 22-point fourth quarter comeback, the Vikings had the football for a grand total of two minutes and twenty-three seconds of actual game play. How’d they pull that off? Let’s detail it here.
- The Vikings started the fourth quarter looking at a first-and-goal from the Green Bay 5-yard line. At the 14:17 mark, Kirk Cousins found Stefon Diggs for a 3-yard touchdown pass to pull the Vikings to within a score at 20-14. So, that gives us 43 seconds of possession.
- Green Bay then followed up with a pretty lengthy drive, holding the ball for a 10-play, 57-yard drive that ended in a Mason Crosby field goal to make it a two-score game again at 23-14. The Packers took 6:42 off of the clock with that possession.
- Minnesota got the ball back after a touchback at their own 25 with 7:35 remaining. On the second play of the drive, Kirk Cousins unleashed the freaking dragon to Diggs for a 75-yard score. That possession took 17 seconds, giving the Vikings a total of 60 seconds of possession in the quarter, and making it a one-score game again at 23-21.
- On their next possession, Green Bay put together another 10-play drive and burning more than five minutes off the clock again. The result was another field goal by Crosby, making the score 26-21 and forcing the Vikings to play for a touchdown.
- Only, on the next drive, the Vikings had the ball for all of nine seconds, thanks to Cousins’ pass bouncing off of Laquon Treadwell’s hands and into the arms of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix for an interception. So, with those nine seconds, the Vikings were at a whole 1:09 worth of possession for the fourth quarter.
- Fortunately for the Vikings, thanks to the combination of the two-minute warning and some incredibly dumb play calling by Mike McCarthy or Aaron Rodgers (whoever thought it was a good idea to put the ball into the air twice), Green Bay’s next possession lasted just 19 seconds. Crosby added yet another field goal, making the score 29-21, but there was still some hope.
- Cousins then proceeded to take advantage of Clay Matthews being. . .well, being Clay Matthews. . .and led the Vikings on an 8-play, 75-yard drive that was capped with the 22-yard touchdown pass to Adam Thielen that put the Vikings within two points, and Diggs running past the fossilized husk of Tramon Williams for the two-point conversion to tie the game. That drive more than doubled the Vikings’ fourth quarter time of possession, as it took an entire minute and 14 seconds to get into the end zone, giving the Vikings a total of 2:23 worth of possession in the final quarter.
The Vikings did dominate the Time of Possession in overtime, holding the ball for more than six of the extra frame’s ten minutes, but thanks to Daniel Carlson, it didn’t really matter.
Still, if the fourth quarter showed us anything, it’s that this Vikings’ offense is plenty capable of scoring in bunches, and doing so in a hurry. It’s pretty amazing that the Packers started the fourth quarter with a 13-point lead, held the ball for over 12 minutes of the final quarter, and still managed to not put the Vikings away. On the radio broadcast, Paul Allen was making the case on the final drive that the Packers’ defense was tired, but honestly. . .they weren’t out there long enough to get tired. It would have been the Vikings’ defense that was completely gassed.
In any event, the rematch between these two teams at U.S. Bank Stadium should be an interesting one.